I am one of those language purists. Sometimes it's hard for me to hear someone start to say, "Like I said . . ." (instead of "As I said") or to hear stories spliced with constant repetitions of "You know?" (because the speaker can't think of needed words).
But a recent interview I heard involving a teenager was refreshing in its use of a term I hadn't used much. Attempting to describe a toboggan ride he had just taken down a steep, snowy hill, he first had difficulty finding just the right words. Then he said simply, "It was awesome!"
That word reminded me of something I couldn't identify at first. Several times during the evening I thought of it, and wondered again what special significance it could have for me. I had gone to bed, but not to sleep, when the answer came to me. Actually, I was praying when it happened.
The young man describing his glorious, snowy slide had put a word to a feeling I had had uncounted times in my life, and expect to go on having. The word awesome reminded me, I finally realized, of the feeling I have when I'm healed. And even more, it reminded me of what invariably precedes a healing.
I am a Christian Scientist, a member of the Church founded over a hundred years ago by Mary Baker Eddy. For me, Christian Science brings the teachings and healings of Jesus Christ into the present. It makes them real and current, a factor in my own life and day-to-day experience.
If I feel ill, or troubled in any fashion, I know I can pray for physical healing. I can also pray for courage, love, peace, strength, and guidance. Prayer makes me more aware of the fact that, as a child of the God Jesus addressed as "Our Father," I already have my longed-for freedom. As St. Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, "My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:19).
No matter what the problem, or how I begin praying and listening for God's voice, I reach at last the point where I am more aware of God, as He is presented in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book Mrs. Eddy wrote in 1875. One of the things the book says about God is this: "God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, Love" (p. 465). As I feel God's presence in terms of these synonyms, I become less and less concerned with my troubled situation.
"God is incorporeal, divine, supreme, infinite Mind . . . . " The infinitude described here becomes real for me in my prayer. The omnipresence of divine Love brings assurance of my own spiritual wholeness. I am in awe, before it and in it.
I think that Jesus must have felt this same quiet reverence for God's power and love, when he healed people. As he prayed for his friend Lazarus, a man who had been dead for four days, Jesus must have felt deep respect as he said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always" (John 11:41-42). After Jesus said this, Lazarus rose up and walked-and lived.
The spirit of reverence fills the writings of Mrs. Eddy. Of love itself, she wrote: "What a word! I am in awe before it. Over what worlds on worlds it hath range and is sovereign! the underived, the incomparable, the infinite All of good, the alone God, is Love." This is from the book Miscellaneous Writings (pp. 249-250).
In the momentous instant before healing, this is what I feel-that love.
Let all the earth
fear the Lord: let all
the inhabitants of the world
stand in awe of him. For
he spake, and it was
done; he commanded,
and it stood fast.
Psalms 33:8, 9